Tag Archive: songwriting


John Mason

New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas on November 7, hosted by Shaun Outen, and sponsored – with a live broadcast – by Texas Select Radio, began about 7:30 with John Mason. His set included the title song of his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves. Mason also played I Wanna Know – asking why we call coffee “joe.” He switched guitars and ended with Lone Star State.

Cat McGee took the stage next, opening with Summertime. Following with A Place of Their Own, and Coda. Coda and Summertime

Cat McGee

are the first and last song, respectively, of Cat’s recently released EP, ironically called, Don’t Rush Me. McGee ended with Four Guns and a Mercedes.

Dan Roark played his song for those on the autism spectrum, Hello Out There, to begin his set. Peace Be With You – written about the police shootings at the protest in downtown Dallas in the summer of 2016 – came next. Then he played Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress before finishing with I Got My Ass

Dan Roark

Kicked in Nashville.

Dave Ross, touring with Madison Rising, announced that his was an impromptu set because he hadn’t planned on performing. He borrowed Dan Roark’s guitar and started with Stormy Monday. He followed with two of Bob Dylan’s songs and one of his own about his daughter when she was about two years old.

Host Shaun Outen closed out the evening’s music. Beginning with Wear My Ring, by Bart Crow, his set also included his own single from a couple of years ago, All I Saw Was a Flash. He concluded with Holding Her and Loving You, and the Willie Nelson tune, Me and Paul.

New Faces Tuesday is always a good time for music at Love and War in Texas in Plano. Come on at and have something to eat on the heated patio while you listen to the performers. Or bring your guitar or instrument of choice and get your time on stage.

More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at a previous showcase.

Before we get to Raphael’s, we’ll get to the heads up. I headed up to Denton for the open mic at LSA Burger Co. I had called earlier to make sure they had it before I drove all the way up there. I scored a parking place in front. But my positive vibes were short-lived.

It turns out the “open mic” is booked through Dec. 4. Not only am I damned if I can figure out how an open mic can be booked that far in advance, but LSA has nothing about the open mic on it’s website or Facebook page. So there’s the heads up – moving on.

Since I was up that way anyway, I left my prime parking spot to the guy stopping traffic because he really, really wanted it, and drove out to Raphael’s Mexican Restaurant in Aubrey to play at the open mic. Which is hosted by Shaun Outen and is live on Texas Select Radio. It’s actually more of a showcase than an open mic.

They were getting started when I arrived. Kaleb McIntire was beginning his set. Fiddle player, Billy Western was

Kaleb McIntire and Billy Western

playing with him. Western has played with a variety of country performers as back up or studio musician. McIntire played a good set of varied country covers. From Merle Haggard to Waylon Jennings and so on. Mixed in were a few of his original songs. Follow the link for his music. I couldn’t understand what he was saying for the noise at the bar. But the songs sounded good – it was easier to understand the words of the song. Catch Kaleb and/or his band when you have a chance.

I took the stage and got ready to begin my set. This wasn’t my first time to play to a loud audience. I’d rather not mention how long ago that was. Suffice it to say, it didn’t surprise me.

If you know me and my music, you know that I have quiet, softer songs and then loud, often comedic, songs. When I play to a noisy crowd, I take it as a personal challenge to get them to pay attention. The finger picks stay in the pocket and it’s all systems go.

It started off a little rough. The Aardvark Song and John Prine song, Paradise, barely phased them. Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress got their attention. I had them with I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville.

So that’s my musical prescription for a loud crowd. Keep pounding and don’t give up. Just remember – you have the microphone.

Keep on writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last night I went to Bedford for the Movie Tavern micro music festival. Dillon Moses was the host. They also have a micro music festival at the Movie Tavern in Denton on Thursday. With every performer playing four to six songs, and a relaxed atmosphere, it really was more like a micro music festival.

I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t from the “neighborhood.” There’s some good, young, local talent in the area judging from what I saw and heard.  We entertained the crowd having a few drinks before their showing of Thor came around.

I usually have a standing appointment on Thursday nights. It was called off for this week, so I headed to Bedford. With a recording session in LA coming up next week, I figure I can’t practice too much and there is no better way of doing it than playing an open mic, micro music festival, showcase, or the like. My plan is to play tonight at Mex-Go on Central in Allen. Then the LSA Burger Co. open mic in Denton on Monday, New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas, Plano in the heated patio, and Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers in Richardson on Wednesday.

Then home to get ready for an early morning flight on Thursday that will begin ten days in LA. Which will include eight shows – a mixture of open mics and showcases – with an eye for setting up shows for a future trip. It will also include six days in the studio – an entire post in itself.

So come on out and join me at any of the places I’m playing through Wednesday. Come to listen or play. They’ve all got good food and drinks.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

The Poor David’s Pub open mic on Monday, October 23 was one of those magical musical nights when you should have been there.

Guest host, Dan Roark, welcomed everyone at 7:30. He played his set of upbeat tunes and the songwriting talent never slowed down. John Mason followed the host. His set, played on his newly acquired Taylor guitar, included the title song from his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves.

John Mason

Harry Hewlett took the stage next with his west Texas country, including a song about the effects of drinking Everclear. Called, oddly enough, Everclear. Cat McGee, with her hypnotic voice, followed Harry with her music consisting of stories she tells so well through song.

Laurelle and 3ple were the first featured act. They began the Make It Change tour in New York and the two musical friends are traveling across the country to California and back. Based on the saying that you can do nothing or you can make it change. The two are doing what they can as they play in various cities. With tracks on computer, and 3ple  on guitar, Lourelle sings her soulful music with a positive spin. They played a delightful set of inspiring, toe-tapping, heart filling music.

3ple and Laurelle

Keith Crow played his homespun songs for the audience, which included members of his family. Tracy Allen followed with a set of nice cover songs. Monk played his introspective, stories and lessons from life, songs that leave you with no doubt about how he felt at the time. His set included What’d I Say and My Mom. Rob Case followed Monk and played songs from Last Call in Texas, such as Bayou City.

Joe Cat was the second featured artist. Joe hails from Athens, Georgia, where he works the first half of the month and tours the last half. He writes songs of the heartland and the working man. He just released his new cd, Preaching Drunk, which he is working on putting out in vinyl.

Joe Cat

On one of his previous visits to Poor David’s, Joe was caught up in the spirit of the occasion and said that the PDP open mic was the only one he played anymore. I published a post on the show and quoted him. “I have to be careful what I say in front of Dan,” he said last Monday, before he told the story. “A host of an open mic called me up and asked, “You don’t play open mics anymore.”” “I said, No, wait!” He went on to play a number of his earthy songs including two of my favorites, America’s Best and Silver Thread City. He played Red Hawk from Preachin’ Drunk, which includes Americas’s Best. Follow the link and check out his music.

Scott Thornton took the stage after Joe Cat. Scott played his music that seems to be stream of consciousness at times. His songs are spiritual observations of what is happening in the world. You certainly seem to be at peace listening to him.

Craig Langford closed out the evening with his country songs that take you to the places and times he sings about. With a distinct unique voice that adds to the effect. Check his music out for yourself.

In fact do yourself a favor and check everyone’s music out. And go out and support live music. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart. Peace be with you.

You were not happy when you didn’t have shows booked for Friday and Saturday. But you thought it was a good thing when you came down with a cold because the weather was changing. You feel better Monday and feel like you can play. Whether it’s a gig or an open mic, you’re ready to get out and play. You order a glass of water with your beer – because you usually do and, well, you’re not stupid.

Then you get called to play before you’re ready. In the middle of your routine, as it were. You take your water with you. You tuned your guitar as soon as you knew you’d be playing. But it’s outside on the patio and you’re praying it stays in tune – which it usually does. But you keep checking to make sure.

You start the first song and your voice sounds better than you thought it would. Then about the third line you realize that moisture is escaping from your mouth in rapid fashion. Just before you hit the chorus, you feel a frog crawling up your throat. Well, not quite a frog really – more like one of those little frogs that used to be as prevalent in a backyard as fireflies, but you don’t see them much any more.

You turn your mouth away from the mic – hoping it’s quick and quiet – while still keeping the rhythm going. You recover in time to start the chorus – maybe a beat late. You finish the song with only a couple of incidents.

You keep drinking water. As each successive song goes by, you begin to think you’re going to pull it off. As the water begins to run out, you take a chance and push it a little, getting a little louder. You finish with another loud song. Fortunately, no one heard the coughs and gurgles.

The crowd enjoyed it and you leave the stage to get more water – hoping you didn’t do any damage to your vocal cords. The time I refer to was not too bad. Unfortunately, other times have not gone as well.

What is your “show must go on” story?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

Colleen Francis

The Dallas Songwriters Association 3rd Saturday showcase on September 16, was held in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl (PSB) due to a last minute change. Angela’s at the Crosswalk has been sold and the new owner cancelled all music indefinitely. Julie Holmer, one of the former owners, assisted DSA in finding a location because of the sudden announcement.

The showcase was from 9-11 p.m. – as opposed to 7:30 – 10 at Angela’s. League play at the bowling alley ends at 9 p.m. and open bowl begins. The sound system was set up so that the performers  were playing to the people in the lounge, but could be heard by customers walking into PSB and bowlers on that end of the building.

Colleen Francis opened the show at 9. With the casual bowling atmosphere, she played

Host Dan Roark

mostly originals, but threw in a few covers. The crowd in the lounge was fluid, mostly consisting of bowlers coming in from the bowling lanes and people waiting for a lane. While there was little applause at the end of songs, it was obvious people were listening and looking in to see who was playing. Colleen’s set included her songs, Wildflower, and crowd favorite, Better Than This.

Host Dan Roark followed Francis at 9:45. While people moved in and out of, and by, the bar, he played River That Flows and the Aardvark song among others. A small crowd of people were standing in the bar when Dan played Chocolate Eclairs and Apple Fritters and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville to finish his set. The security guard was seen tapping his foot and nodding his head.

Jeff Stachowski

Jeff Stachowski began to play about 10:20 for the final set of the evening. He began with his love trilogy: It’s Not Love, 99 Postcards, and Month of Mondays. He also played crowd favorites, 5 Miles of Smiles, and Little Green Men. Jeff also has a band called PROPELLER. Being a comedian in a former life, Stachowski mixes humor with his music.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

The lounge at Plano Super Bowl

The Dallas Songwriters Association third Saturday showcase has moved. Angela’s at the Crosswalk was sold last week and the new owner is cancelling most of the music events. This Saturday, September 16, the showcase will be from 9 – 11 p.m. in the lounge at Plano Super Bowl on K Ave. on a trial basis (for both parties).

Colleen Francis will open the show at 9 p.m. and play until 9:40. Host Dan Roark will play from 9:40-10:20. Jeff Stachowski will play from 10:20 – 11p.m. It will be a good show.

After the show, bowl a game or two during open bowling. Plano Super Bowl is open 24 hours. They also have really good food.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

David Card

David Card, Poor David his own self, put the benefit at Poor David’s Pub together in six days. I am proud to be a member of Team PDP that produced a successful benefit and raised  over $4000 on Saturday, September 2. The money  was delivered to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a pet rescue agency in Port Aransas.

I opened the show and was happy to be the first in a long line of songwriters and one cover band.

Dan Roark/Mr. Troll/Don Wall/Sam Baker/Bill Nash/Loose Change/Elizabeth Wills/Grady Yates/Jimmy Baldwin/Mike Freiley/Bob and Sally Ackerman/Caroline Murphy/Jimmy Adcock Trio/Rickey Gene Wright/Tim York/Travis Buster/Rick Babb/Annie Benjamin/Grace Pettis/Sonia of Disappear Fear/Greg Schroeder/Ann Armstrong and Steve Hughes/Baylis Laramore.

I will post pictures on my Facebook music page. I had to leave after Caroline Murphy so I may have the exact order a little off. If people who have pictures of the other acts would send them to me, I’ll add them to the album.

Thanks to David Card, Clare Card, all the great songwriters and musicians, the food crew and all of Team PDP for a wonderful benefit for our southern neighbors.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

I was guest host for Mr. Troll at the Poor David’s Pub (PDP) open mic on Monday, August 28. I started the evening off at 7:30 with my Poor David’s Pub song and a couple of others. A second time newcomer, Michael Williams came next. He played three nice songs, including a bluesy number, despite his insistence that he “still needs to practice.”

The inimitable and cynical Roy Howell

Michael Williams

followed Michael with three songs, including his “mass murderer song” dedicated to John Lennon. Cort Harris, a first time newcomer, preceded the featured artists, Dan and the Decade. He had a nice voice and country/americana style.

Visually, Dan and the Decade look like a culturally diverse Buddy Holly and the Crickets. And these young men can certainly rock and roll. They are definitely in sync with one another. Lead vocalist Dan Friedman and Vivek Koshti both play guitar, with Kyle Lester on bass, and Vinay Kotamarti on drums.

Dan and the Decade

Dan and the Decade brought friends and fans and played a tight half hour set. This was their premier performance and they did quite nicely. A band to watch as they bond more musically. They will only get better. Like them on Facebook and go see them when you can. It will be worth it.

Rob Case, former Houston resident with family still there, played a set which included

Cort Harris

Bayou City. Bayou City is about Houston and why Rob left in the first place. Rob and Lynda’s family are safe, but they may be headed down to help out.

Michael Newkirk began what I called the “extended absence” set. Michael, Jeff Stachowski, and Tin Man Travis returned to PDP open mic after an extended period of time. We were glad to see them. Michael Newkirk is a country crooner of sorts. Jeff has also been a comedian. The humor and cynicism shows in his songs, such as 99 Postcards. Tin Man Travis played Stormy Monday, and Georgia, to end the open mic.

Another good show you didn’t get to see. (More pictures on my Facebook music page.) Support open mics – you won’t regret it.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

David Card

In a stroke of luck, Poor David’s Pub had this Saturday, September 2, open. In a stroke of misfortune, the Kerrville Fall Festival was cancelled in support of their hurricane stricken neighbors.

So David Card is putting together a one day “festival” in support of the hurricane victims. Since it’s short notice, we need to get the word out. Follow the link to David’s Facebook page and join in the conversation.

Tell him that you’ll be there to join us in support. If you are a songwriter, let him know if you want to get on the list. I plan to be there to play my Poor David’s Pub song.

Spread the word. Come join us. Spread the word. Let’s support the victims. Oh, and did I say spread the word?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

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